With directors, talent agents, and professional performers composing the faculty, it's no wonder the students at Class Act Studios spend much of their class time in front of the camera. With courses geared specifically toward kids, tweens, teens, and adults, the studio covers fields of study ranging from commercial work to film acting. Soap-opera and sitcom classes equip actors with genre-specific skills, such as how to expertly mimic the sound of a live studio audience. Improv and scene-study courses help students inhabit any scenario, with or without a script. Instructors even run private tutoring sessions and birthday parties that thrust invited friends in front of the camera.
When done right, a theatrical performance can change its audience. It can move them, call them to action, or rally them around a specific cause. With this in mind, OnStage Leadership's instructors use techniques from the world of theater to help non-actors connect with a crowd, including business executives, managers, and freelancers. OnStage Leadership's team keeps most of what happens during their workshops a secret, but participants emerge more confident and with stronger stage presence.
Rising Stars Performing Arts Company founder and artistic director Laura A. Rizzo knows firsthand the benefits of a fine-arts education. Wielding a master’s degree in educational theater and dance from New York University as well as experience on and off Broadway, she has helmed more than 130 children’s shows in which she's helped youngsters develop social skills, increase their community awareness, and spice up dinner conversation with iambic pentameter. Rizzo and her staff of instructors from diverse performance backgrounds lead students toward their artistic goals, whether they dream of dancing competitively or joining the cast of a Broadway musical.
Drawing on big- and small-screen success, such as appearances in Tom Selleck's Her Alibi and on Late Show with David Letterman, as well as more than 25 national commercials, acting guru Mark Stolzenberg transforms amateurs into screen-savvy performers at the New York Acting School for Film and Television. Thespians hone their acting chops through monologues, improvisations, and cold readings in Mark's classes, preparing for time spent on television or the big screen. Essentials classes introduce neophyte film actors to the intricacies of playing to the camera, whereas advanced pupils refine their techniques by co-starring in a two-person short film directed by Stolzenberg, learning to handle more difficult scene work and larger crowds of crazed fans. For more targeted practice, Mark hosts one-on-one, on-camera coaching sessions to prep audition material or monologues for upcoming performances.
In the 60 years since Robert Joffrey founded his school, graduates have gone on to dance in major ballet companies as well as modern and contemporary troupes. And it's easy to see why they'd have such diverse careers: Joffrey pioneered modern music in ballet with his 1967 opus Astarte, for which he commissioned original rock and roll, and then with Billboards, which was set to the sweet funk of Prince. With teachers ranging from a veteran of the National Ballet Company of Guatemala to the ghost of Gene Kelly, the school continues to blend multiple dance styles into its balletic training, building well-rounded dancers versed in jazz, contemporary, character, and hip-hop. All of the training tends to pay off; graduates of the Joffrey Ballet School frequently go on to shine in companies including the Joffrey Ballet, the American Ballet Theater, the New York City Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.
In print and online, Back Stage aims to organize a flood of information on casting calls, audition advice, and breaking industry news into a resource both aspiring and working actors can turn to daily. Tips on snagging representation, choosing headshots, and managing on-set frustration all help subscribers make the most of thousands of entertainment job listings for roles in commercials, films, and major state senates. In major cities around the country, Actorfest delivers its advice and opportunities in the flesh via intensive workshops, casting calls, and meetings with industry pros.